Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hands-on with Star Wars Blu-ray Early Access App

Initially only available on the iPad, but now available on the iPhone as well, the Star Wars: Blu-ray: Early Access App gives fans a brief glimpse into the voluminous bonus features collected on the discs.

The App is multimedia experience divided into menu based on the six films of the Star Wars saga.  Each film has three categories of bonus features in the App.  (1) Interviews/Video Commentaries, (2) The Collection, and (3) Concept Art Gallery.

Episode I:
(1) Naboo Overview and Video Commentary on Queen's Royal Starship Concept Model
(2) Sith Speeder Model
(3) Concept Art: Sith Knight (Darth Maul)

Episode II:
(1) Video Commentary on Dexter Jettster Maquette and Republic Gunship Model
(2) Tusken Raider Child Costume
(3) Concept Art: Acklay

Episode III:
(1) Video Commentary on Utapau Sinkhole Maquette and Burnt Anakin Head
(2) Boga with Obi-Wan Maquette
(3) Concept Art: The Rescue of Vader

Episode IV:
(1) Video Commentary on Landspeeder Prototype Model and Holo-chess Set
(2) Y-Wing Fighter Model - Final
(3) Concept Art: Imperial Sith Lord

Episode V:
(1) Interview with Irvin Kershner
(2) Rebel Cruiser Model and Cloud City Landing Platform Matte Painting
(3) Concept Art: AT-AT Illustration

Episode VI:
(1) Video Commentary: Endor Overview
(2) Death Star Under Construction Model and Imperial Shuttle Landing Matte Painting
(3) Concept Art: Tatooine Cave Matte Painting

The App isn't without its flaws, it seems slower to respond to touches then most Apps and it did crash a few times on me.

The Collection section is pretty cool, it gives you a rotatable view of different prop elements, mostly models.

The video commentaries are very insightful and interesting.  I am not that big a fan of DVD special features aside from deleted scenes.  I enjoy movies for the story of the movie, most of the nuts and bolts of how it is made can bore me.  However, since I am a wee bit obsessed with Star Wars I really enjoyed the Irvin Kershner interview complete with some great looking shots from Empire and the Endor Overview which went into how they shot the speeder bike chase.

I loved the Holo-chess commentary, that is one of my favorite scenes and one of the small details that makes you feel like the Star Wars universe is real.  

The App also gives you some perspective into how Lucas integrated matte paintings, miniature models, blue/green screens, and actors to make a scene.  

The App is free and its certainly worth the download, however there isn't a ton of depth there and you can probably get through all the features in under half an hour.

I am hopeful that this will be the first, not the last App from Lucasfilm.  I would love to see an updated mobile version of the Databank in App form.  An official version of Wookieepedia as it were with a multimedia App.  Of course it would also be cool to see LucasArts make Star Wars mini-games for iOS devices.

After all, the Star Wars universe has the datapad, it is only fitting that the company embrace the real world datapads and develop more content for them.  

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